If These Old Halls Could Talk...

Starring: The Queen’s University Buildings

Johnny D.
Johnny D.
Grant Hall
Grant Hall
The Frosh
The Frosh
BioSciences Complex
BioSciences Complex
Stirling Hall
Stirling Hall
Watson Hall
Watson Hall

(CURTAIN OPENS ON QUEEN'S CAMPUS, with JDUC and Vic Hall eyeing a group of ArtSci frosh, who are in the midst of a good old-fashioned ArtSci cheer. Both buildings quickly become annoyed with the spectacle.)

JDUC: Lookey, here, Vicki — the stalwart gaels of Group 69, hand-holding the latest litter of preppy Queen's nurslings through the busy streets of Kingston.

Victoria Hall: I'm six stories tall; I can't help but catch an eyeful. The place is crawling with these squirming youngsters. I tell you, Johnny, if I wasn't stuck in the ground, bonded fast with four hundred tons of concrete, I'd wipe my floors clean, take down the drywall, and leave for good. JDUC: Shhh! I hear one of the Gaels cheerleading. Let's listen in. It might be good for a laugh.

Gael Leader (to frosh): C'mon gang, repeat after me: 'two, four, six, eight, ArtSci is so very great!

Vic Hall (aside to JDUC, fuming): hmph, more like: 'two, four, six, eight…. you've come here to fornicate!'

JDUC: Fornicate. Don't you and I both know it… Gael Leader (to frosh): Woohoo that was kick-ass! Don't stop now: 'three, five, six, nine, no one does it like sixty-nine!'

JDUC (aside to Vic Hall): how 'bout this, Vicki, 'three, five, six, nine… go back to Toronto, you beery swine!'

Grant Hall (catching wind of the preceding exchange): Hey, Johnny, Vicki — why do you have to be so tough on the frosh? You ought to make them feel welcome. Cut them some slack, they're new around here. JDUC: Exactly my point! Look at these frosh; they're new. They've invaded my campus. Another wave of first-years, complexions oily, bedsheets still moist. It really makes me puke, Grant.

For four brief summer months I was free, to think quietly, to absorb the sun, to sit back on my foundations and relax. But I can't get a moment's rest now that the little maggots have re-infested my hallways, wandering around all wide-eyed and slap-happy and bumping into one another like so many lobotomized penguins. They're everywhere — eating Marriott food and making a mess, yapping about Dawson's Creek on the way to class, copping a mutual feel with their glad hands when they think no else is around. Well, I'm the John Deutsch University Centre and I'm open twenty-four hours a day, by Botterell! I'm around all day and all night, and I catch a dirty whiff of every drunken indiscretion that takes place around here. And it really, really, makes me want to puke.

Grant Hall: I just don't understand you, Johnny. It's an honour and a privilege that we, the buildings of Queen's Campus, are able to play an integral role in the students' experience. We constitute the halls, stairways, the classrooms, the labs of the university. The students need us. We house them. Shelter them. Surely we ought to nurture and love them too. Give them a chance. (to Vic Hall) That goes for the both of you.

JDUC: Have you got a cuckoo in your clock tower, Grant-pa? Take off those tri-colour glasses and look at things clearly, old man. What good have the students ever done for you? Litter on your balcony? Scuff up your dance floor? Relieve themselves all over your hand-laid nineteenth century limestone? I'm surprised that you can even get nostalgic. I mean, do you see the clothes the little gits are wearing nowadays? Goddamn frosh. What we need is another black plague to thin out their ranks a bit. That'd teach these fashion barons. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way (shouting across campus) Listen up, all of you. I warn every self-respecting edifice on campus not to waste their time putting up with these tam-toting neophytes any longer. We're fed up with the students. I propose a shutdown. That's right — let's close doors on this pubescent public. (defiantly) Students, until you learn some manners, you can learn your lessons outside on the street, where you belong! (to fellow buildings) Who's with me?

Vic Hall: You da man, Jay Ducky! Strike! Strike!

Mac-Corry (arriving on the scene): Here here!

Grant: What?! Strike?! First of all, Mac-Corry, nobody asked you for your opinion. Second, let's stop this nonsense. Nobody's gone doors-closed since the Victoria School Building and the Old Courthouse fell in love and went crazy together. Surely you don't wanna end up like up them, alone and abandoned, easy prey for bottom-lining School of Business contractors? Don't be the architect of your own ruin, Deutsch. Give the first-years one more chance.

Vic Hall: Weak words, Grant-pa, but tough luck. From now on it's a frosh-free millennium. Heck, Johnny and I are having it out with the upper-years too. We are fed up with all these ingrates who congregate around campus, swooping down every September, holding court like the kings and queens of Queen's and Kingston…

BioSciences Complex (dismissively): At least the students seem to appreciate me. My décor, my arboretum. My cafeteria gets raves from the LifeSci crowd…

Grant (struggling to maintain order): Butt out, BioSci! I'm elder statesman and high tower around here!

BioSciences (butting in again): Now now, I'm on your side, Grant. I was only thinking that if Johnny D and Mac-Corry kept up their appearances, they might be more popular with the frosh, a little less gloomy all the time, not to mention a little less urinated on!

Mac-Corry (whining): Hey, it's not my fault I'm a gloomy building. The architect who designed me was insane, I swear. Ask anybody. You should go easy on me, BiSci: I got six meandering wings to look after. They wind around all over the place when I'm not watching. I'm discovering new rooms and stairwells everyday. Sometimes I wonder. I mean, I really wonder… My hallways are a haze, a maze. So back off.

JDUC: Bah! Forget him, Mac. He's a sellout, and a phony.

(to BioSciences) Ever since you got renovated, you've been putting on airs, B.S, and it's bullshit. The other buildings around here know that all you are, and all you ever will be, is Earl Hall with a Bio-sex change. Earl Hall with a facelift. Earl Hall with an undue sense of superiority. Ha, you've got what I call a 'BioSciences complex', that's for sure. Am I right, Mac?

Mac-Corry: It figures, Johnny. He and that Etherington crone are the most intolerable pair o' barns this side of Princess. Especially since she got her gallery wings expanded, and finally did something about that crumbling façade. Don't you remember, Johnny, what a dumpy shack old Agnes used to be?… Johnny?… (looks across at Watson Hall) Oops, I think we woke up the professor!

Watson Hall (waking up after a three-hour nap): harrumph…hmmph..what's that? Did I hear right? Did one of you brick-faced warehouses just say, 'Earl Hall has a 'BioSciences complex'’? Tsk Tsk. How unfortunate. Just about the only thing that can wake me up is an insufferable play on words like that one. Careful, John Deutsch, your awful jokes could ruin my whole sabbatical…

BioSciences (butting in): Well, look who's finally got his 'front entrance' out from behind his 'back exit', his head out of the sand, out of his library, and into the real world! Afternoon, professor. Or should I say 'good morning'? Did you give my regards to the Parthenon?

Watson: Another trenchant comment from a jealous lesser intellect. It figures…well, since it appears you chaps have nothing interesting to discuss, I might as well get back to my Horace. (trailing off) carpe diem, indeed. Good morning, Monsieur Earl. (resumes snoring)

BioSciences: Ha! Who's the jealous one? Face facts, you old stone huts — you're all jealous of my new look. Get with the times. Get renovated or get mothballed. Why bother to strike against the students? You artsy buildings are going the way of the dodo anyway. The first wall due for the wrecking ball is sleepy ol’ Watson there, and as soon as the Accessibility Task Force comes around, Daddy-Mac's number is up too, shut-down or no.

Mac-Corry: I'm warning you, BiSci, I got friends on Barrie St., and they got dynamite!

Grant: Back to the issue at hand, please! We’re discussing the students.

JDUC: I agree with Grant-pa, for once. Let's talk strike. Who else is with me? Do we shut our doors on these indolent frosh? The sooner the better, I say!

Grant: By Botterell! Where's my wife when I need her?

Ban Righ (piping up): I'm right where I've always been, Grant-pa, at the corner of Queen's Crescent and University. And I swear, I can't believe what has come over the buildings of this hallowed institution. Abandon the students? Never! These poor kids need a grandmother's touch. I provide warm meals, nutrition, a cozy home.

Adelaide & Chown (in harmony): Sing it with the sisters, mother superior!

Vic Hall (under her breath, but loud enough to be heard): Ban Righ, Adelaide and Chown, there go the female residences. Can you hear them clucking? It wouldn't surprise me if the only things that get laid in those three henhouses are the eggs.

Ban Righ: Don't you talk like that when my darling '04s are around! The poor little chickadees. (turning on Vic Hall) You, Miss Vicki, are a glorified brothel, a twenty-four hour burlesque show, with floor seniors hired instead of bouncers. Maybe you should start spreading good cheer, and stop spreading VD.

Vic Hall: Hit the bricks, Gran-Righ. You’re gonna talk skeletons in the attic? You and your 'home cooking' are responsible for more hospital visits than any other building on campus, except maybe the PEC.

PEC: Did somebody say something about my pecs?

Everyone: Shut up!!

Grant: Mayhem! Anarchy! Oh, my cobblestones are acting up again. I feel so rickety My gables…so drafty. (spots Jeffrey and Stirling) Jeffrey, Stirls, fellow friends, fine structures, both. Please lend some reason to our cause. Surely you don't believe the rights of the students can be ignored, can you?

JDUC: Students' rights? What about our rights as modern free-standing structures?

Grant (despairing): Jeffrey…?

Jeffrey (coldly): I am afraid we have no opinion on such transient, secular issues.

Stirling: I concur. Science is our religion, and we are the local temples. Isn't that right, Jeffrey?

Jeffrey: Correct. The frosh are in turns annoying and amusing. Ultimately, however,we have no need for the students and their social mores, for better or for worse. We don't just house students, but rather, we are the fortresses of physics and mathematics — objective disciplines in a search for truth, a dispassionate perfection in an abstract reality — beyond the human, touching the divine. Stirling: Ooh Jeff, the way you talk. It always makes my pendulum quiver.

Grant: Freaks and Geeks, the both of you! Can't anybody help me? (he spots Dunning Hall, and Miller Hall, cowering behind trees along Union street) Hey, you guys! You speak for the engineering and business students, right? Can you imagine a campus without Frecs and Bosses and all the great experiences involved in frosh week? Just imagine it.

Dunning: Imagination? Ha! Anybody who's ever walked my halls knows that ol' Dunning wasn't designed for imagination. Sorry, Grant, but I don't get corporate funding to think about things like this.

Miller: Me neither. Contemplation and reflection, while academically amusing, are simply not cost-feasible. Not to mention democracy.

Dunning: Look, Grant, if the students get locked out, it must have been what the market dictated. It's a shame they'll have to hold classes outside in the damp weather, but look at the bright side: someone will make a killing offa selling 'em raincoats! (aside to Miller) By the way, Mill, is that the grease pole poking out of your foyer, or are you just happy to see me?

Grant (shrieking at no one in particular): Selfish narrow-minded cowards! Savages, all!

Professionals, geeks, and savages!

JDUC: Sorry, old man, but you and your wife are the only ones who actually believe that the frosh have some special right to education within these halls. Time to close up shop, if you know what's good for you.

(The buildings shut their doors. The strike begins) JDUC (aside to audience): Gee, I guess it's too bad that the students took us for Grant-ed. Hee hee…

Watson (waking up again): Dammit, John Deutsch, enough with the puns already.

CURTAIN FALLS, EXEUNT OMNES

EPILOGUE:

Stauffer Library: And so in the end, the JDUC had his day... Trouble-making bastard.

--Written by Pat Tanzola

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Hey frosh, write for MiSC.! I can be contacted at 7pt2@qlink.queensu.ca, journal@post.queensu.ca, or by phoning the Journal House at 533-2800.

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